It’s easy to overhype things these days, particularly when it comes to your diet. It seems like one day all we’re being told to eat is green vegetables and the next day we should only be eating red meat. As for butter or eggs? Who knows. It’s confusing.
But, one thing we can safely say is not overhyped when it comes to our diet is loose leaf tea. First, it’s not a trend, unless you count something that’s been around since at least 2400 B.C. as a passing fad. Cultures around the globe have enjoyed a cup of tea for all sorts of reasons ranging from health and wellness to simply something to do in the afternoon (the English are onto something), and we’re totally onboard.
The beauty of loose leaf tea lies in its simplicity. At its best, we’re simply soaking a completely natural plant in hot water for a minute and sipping down all of the benefits that come along with the taste. What’s better than that? And, speaking of benefits, you’ll learn in this article that there are plenty of them. As we head toward fall and cooler weather, we thought it would be a great time to talk through some teas and the potential benefits you could reap from making them.
From immune support to a good night’s rest, here are five teas working stocking on your shelf this fall. But first, a few notes on how to get the most out of your loose-leaf life.
Storing Loose Leaf Tea
There’s no point in picking up some loose leaf tea if it’s just going to go bad sitting on your counter. But, the good news is that storing loose leaf tea isn’t all that difficult. Essentially, you want to keep your tea leaves away from air, heat, and moisture as much as possible to preserve its freshness and flavor.
Iron Flask Food Jars are perfect for just that. They’re insulated, which means your tea will be kept at a consistent temperature, and watertight to prevent mold and bacterial growth. Ideally, you’d have a Food Jar for each tea, but you could also store the leaves in small bags and keep them all in the same container. We’d recommend one Food Jar for your tea, and maybe another jar for putting together different tea mixtures. Either way, an airtight container like the Iron Flask Food Jar is a great method for storing loose leaf tea.
Loose Leaf Tea vs. Bagged Tea
You may be thinking, “What’s wrong with the tea bags I have in my pantry?” Well, nothing really. But, if you’re wanting to get the full range of benefits from your tea experience, then we’d highly recommend going with the loose leaf variety. If loose leaf tea seems like too much, you can still get plenty of benefits from bagged tea, but here’s why loose leaf tea has an edge:
Now that we’ve ironed out the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of loose leaf tea, let’s take a look at what sort of teas are a great option to keep on your shelf.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of tea, green tea would probably be on it. First, green tea has a low, but noticeable amount of caffeine, so you’ll still get an energy boost, albeit a more subtle one. But, green tea has also been linked to all sorts of potential health benefits. Studies conducted throughout the years have tied green tea to improved cognitive function, anti-aging effects, a lower risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, and even the ability to slow the growth of some cancers. Those are some pretty compelling reasons to go green.
Ginger seems to be one of those “love it or hate it” flavors for most people, but the health benefits of ginger are pretty unanimous. Most commonly, ginger is used to reduce motion sickness and nausea. In an article from Healthline, they point out a famous 1988 study conducted on sailors:
“One 1988 study in 80 naval cadets unaccustomed to sailing in heavy seas determined that those who received 1 gram of powdered ginger reported reduced vomiting and cold sweating,” the article points out.
If it’s good enough for the U.S. Navy, it’s good enough for us, but other potential benefits of ginger include lower blood pressure, weight loss, and even pain/inflammation reduction. So, if you fall into the “hate it” category for ginger, you may want to rethink your preferences.
As a plant native to North America, research suggests that indigenous tribes have been using echinacea as a natural remedy for hundreds of years. And, according to Mount Sinai, it seems like they knew what they were doing. Echinacea is a go-to remedy, particularly for the common cold. While there are some conflicting studies, many of them show that drinking echinacea tea early on in a cold or sickness can reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Researchers at Mount Sinai point out other benefits: “Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that boost immune function, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects.” So, if you or your kids start to sniffle, maybe think about reaching for the echinacea.
We could all use a little more sleep and relaxation these days. Who knew that the solution comes in the form of a little white flower? While there are only a few studies, there’s compelling evidence that chamomile tea has been linked to improved sleep and relaxation. One study in particular showed that the herb acts similarly to benzodiazepine, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and sleeplessness. Other potential benefits of chamomile tea include a reduction in menstrual pain, lower blood sugar, reduction of osteoporosis symptoms, and more. In other words, don’t sleep on chamomile.
It turns out that hibiscus is more than just a pretty flower. In an interview with the Cleveland Clinic, Registered dietitian Beth Czerwony, RD explained that this powerful little plant is packed full of benefits, including antioxidants, which have been proven to reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Other benefits she pointed out include reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, weight loss, and improved liver health. That’s a flower with plenty of fight in it.
It’s easy to read this list and think that loose leaf teas are the silver bullet for your health. And, while there are plenty of proven benefits, many are still being researched for their validity, and we highly recommend speaking with your doctor to answer any questions about your personal health. This is simply meant to give you some information as a head start. But, there also aren’t a whole lot of reasons not to start drinking loose leaf tea. All it takes is some patience to steep it, and you could be enjoying a whole slew of health benefits and, worst-case scenario, you’re enjoying a peaceful moment to yourself, tea in-hand.